The end of my “Test Pep Rally” (124:365)

I have been involved with Test Pep Rallies for the past 14 years as a teacher, guidance counselor, vice principal and principal. I have created skits, performed skits, write original songs, made music videos, delivered inspiring speeches, and even made bets about the assessments…. I’m done. Want to know why?


There are a few reasons why I am retiring from the Test Pep Rally scene and so is my school. In the past, drastic times have called for drastic measures. We have not been performing well on the standardized assessments (just like all the other low socio-economic districts in the state/country – can somebody say correlation) and we get in front of the kids every year and basically beg them to do well. I will admit it… It’s pathetic. We only did it to attempt to leave “no stone unturned” in this high stakes accountability environment. Honestly, it didn’t work. It didn’t produce higher assessment results.


Another reason why I am retiring from the Test Pep Rally game happened a month ago. I was looking through my Facebook feed and a good friend, who also happens to be very involved in the Parent/Teacher Chat on twitter, has presented at conferences about family engagement, and is an advocate for education Gwen Pescatore wrote about a Test Pep Rally at her school. All she said was that there could be a better way then to spend 30 minutes at her school. I have not been able to get it out of my head…. I respect Gwen, and everything she has done to promote teacher/parent relationships. Here it is two months later, with a “test prep song” written, and I just decided… that’s it. We are not doing this circus anymore!


So what will I do this week? Well, I will go around to each of the classes and talk with the kids about the importance of the assessment, and more importantly their individual “growth.” That’s it. Plain and simple.


Want to know what others are saying about the standardized assessment movement?

Eric Sheninger – Education Reform is Destroying Childhood as we know it

Anya Kamenetz – What are Education Tests for Anyway? 

John Robinson – Test Pep Rallies: Good idea or waste of time? 


3 thoughts on “The end of my “Test Pep Rally” (124:365)

  1. Wow! Thanks Spike! No doubt I do believe there’s a better way to spend 30 minutes and I question the message it sends the kids about the importance of the other 175 (or so) learning days. Are they not equally (or in my opinion more) important to get a good night sleep, eat well, etc? After all it is those days that they are learning about the content that they will be tested on.

    • Gwen
      Thanks again for making me reconsider what has become “old hat.” We will continue to work for the entire year to inspire kids and help them get to the next level!

  2. Our kids look forward to it. Each year the teachers do some kind of song parody based around good test strategies. It is not anything that makes kids do better on the test, but something that builds school culture. It is part of the celebration aspect. If people feel that it is a waste of their 30 minutes, perhaps its not the right activity. Or, perhaps it should take place adter the test as a celebration of the hard work of everyone involved.

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